Frankly, the shock is not so much that two Virginia police officers from separate jurisdictions were caught tied to two distinct, respective white supremacist groups, but that they were fired after said affiliations became known.
For years, there has been evidence that law enforcement has been targeted and infiltrated by white supremacist organizations; something that should really strike fear into the hearts of those who know that police officers wield an inordinate amount of power over the literal lives of millions.
Last week, the Virginia Division of Capitol Police, which handles law enforcement on the capitol grounds and provides protection to state officials, announced that Robert Stamm was fired for violating policy after activist group Antifa of the Seven Hills, based in Richmond, Va., shared screenshots of Stamm’s social media posts to Twitter, tagging the Capitol Police’s account, according to CNN.
The investigation into Stamm began after the anti-fascist org exposed his ties on Feb. 5, showing Stamm’s tattoos and flags associated with white supremacy, including a badge on his Facebook profile photo of the Asatru Folk Assembly—which sounds black as hell—but, according to the Southern Poverty Legal Center and Anti-Defamation League, it is classified as anything but.
Stamm, for his part, told CNN that his affiliation with Asatru is religious and that his firing has violated his freedom of religion.
“I was discriminated against for my religion. My religion is not politics, it is faith. My constitutional rights were violated. Period,” Stamm told CNN.
Then there was Daniel Morley, who worked for the Chesterfield County Police and was fired on Thursday.
In a Facebook post, Chesterfield Police Chief Jeffrey Katz wrote that Morley was first investigated because he “may have an affiliation with Identify Evropa — an organization widely known for promoting white nationalism.”
It read in part:
Policing in today’s polarized society is challenging. Successful policing requires relationships rooted in trust. While I will not get into specifics of this personnel matter, I want you to know that my decision to terminate Mr. Morley is predicated on the well-founded belief that his affiliation and online activities make it impossible for him to carry out his duties in a way that would contribute to the building of trust and the maintenance of legitimacy our police department shares with our supportive community.
For their part, Antifa of the Seven Hills also wrote a blog post about Morley, though Chief Katz would not confirm if that began the department’s investigation.
CNN reports that avowed white supremacist Richard Spencer has said one of Identity Evropa’s founders, Nathan Damigo, “took the lead in organizing white supremacist participation among people from outside Charlottesville” for the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., in which an anti-racist activist was killed by a white supremacist. The organization was reportedly rebranded as American Identity Movement in early March.
By the way, the Chesterfield County police department has had its issues around race in the past, as reported by The Root.
It appears (because it’s true) that a police officer can be obviously negligent in his or her duty and end someone’s life, literally kill them, but remain on the payroll, but they can get the boot if they’re caught being tied to violent white supremacy.